brotherpeacemaker

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Manipulation of Evidence

Manipulation of Evidence

It’s been a few years and the exact details of this case are long gone and irretrievable for all of my searching across the internet. But there was a case where there were two burglars who got caught stealing. One of them shot and killed a guard or a police officer or the homeowner or somebody who was trying to apprehend them or protect the property. Bear with me, because even though the exact details have been forgotten and lost, at least for the moment, the main issue here has not been forgotten and it has relevancy.

The police caught the two thieves. And they were going to face a jury of their peers. But only one of the men squeezed the trigger on the gun used to kill whomever they killed. One of them was just a burglar and would receive a lesser sentence, but the other was a burglar and a murderer and was going to receive a much stiffer sentence. If I had my choice there would have been no distinction made between the two perpetrators. They both did the burglary and they both contributed to the death of someone. But this distinction was an important in the state where the crime took place and the subsequent trial was held.

Neither man claimed to have pulled the trigger. It was the other guy. So the prosecutor studied the evidence in order to determine who was the most guilty. The decision was made to try the men separately, one right after the other. The prosecutor went into the first trial accusing the defendant of being the murderer and laid out his reasoning. The defense attorney was unable to refute the evidence. A guilty verdict was returned and the man was taken away. But then in the second trial, the same prosecutor laid out the evidence as to why the second man was the murderer.

If memory serves correctly I believe the prosecutor got a guilty verdict in the second trial as well. But through some technicality that was too obscure for this legalese layman, a higher court threw the results of both trials out and the prosecutor was reprimanded. It was impossible for both men to have been the murderer and the prosecutor was making a conscious decision to send an innocent man to prison for murder. With the exception of the good people in “Hang’em High” Texas, the theory for most people is that it is better that a guilty man go free than an innocent man goes to jail when it is absolutely unavoidable. This wasn’t one of those unavoidable circumstances.

In the court system the truth is supposed to be the ultimate goal of any trial. And yet, the people charged with running our justice system our not interested in finding out what really happened. Prosecutors are only concerned with getting a conviction and defense attorneys are only concerned with getting their clients off. People obscure the search for truth with such well meaning expressions like, according to the constitution everyone is entitled to the best defense possible and, as the district attorney it is my job to assure that the people of the public have their community protected to the best extent of the law.

But neither the best defense possible nor the best protection possible is to take precedence over the truth. As a people we no longer look for the truth but for the best public spin that can be manufactured in a court of law or in the public’s opinion. If propaganda can distort reality into an outcome that is to our personal benefit we’ll take it each and every time.

Video tape will prove that American interrogators torture enemy combatants. Not if we send them to the shredder. And we’ll say that the evidence had to be destroyed in order to safeguard the identity of the agents involved. Never mind the fact that we out our CIA agents for political purposes when their spouse happens to write a dissenting opinion on the ethics of American policy and exercises their right to free speech as an American citizen. Members of our executive branch will spend more time defending criminals who flaunt the law in the name of a corrupt President than do an honest days work.

9-1-1 emergency response recordings will show that Joe Horn left his house with a predetermined decision to kill. Just before Mr. Horn left his house he was recorded as saying, “I’m going to kill them.” He put the phone down and ran outside with a cocked and ready shotgun. He yelled something to the effect of freeze or your dead. Not a full two seconds later the shotgun can be heard discharging. But somehow, after the tapes made it to the internet in their entirety, somebody decided it would sound better if they simply edited out the phrase “I’m going to kill them” in order to make his deadly attack against two unarmed men look more like an act of desperation. But it should be obvious that it was premeditated murder.

We know our police posses are more than capable and more than willing to manufacture evidence to get the conviction they want. In their mind, they know the guy is guilty so just plant the evidence necessary to put him away. The problem with this theory is that if the criminal is such a criminal then finding the actual evidence necessary to put him or her away should be a piece of cake. If not, then maybe that person isn’t as guilty as a police officer, district attorney, or any member of the legal system would like for them to be.

Instead of having faith that the people in our legal system would have the public’s best interest at heart and search for the ultimate truth we have to contend with a bunch of people who would be more willing to see their personal objectives served. Every time we go to court we have to deal with the lies and the lying liars that tell them. You can’t tell one side from the other anymore. So much for that blind lady justice everybody likes to talk about.

Friday, January 18, 2008 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Justice, Life, Thoughts

5 Comments »

  1. “We know our police posses are more than capable and more than willing to manufacture evidence to get the conviction they want. In their mind, they know the guy is guilty so just plant the evidence necessary to put him away.”

    As a police officer I am offended by this statement. It would be the same as making the statement: “We know that Black people are more than capable and more than willing to be drug dealers, pimps and whores.” PERCEPTION isn’t the same as REALITY.

    I have been assigned to various units so far over my 15 year career… some local, national and international… and I have investigated drug dealers, extortionists, child molesters, fraud artists, gun runners, gangs and others who pose national security concerns. Most I knew deep down were as guilty as the day is long. However, I have NEVER, nor any of my colleagues, EVER discussed or thought of manufacturing evidence to seal a conviction. N-E-V-E-R! AND some of these people whom I investigated and charged walked free for various reasons… yes some because my investigation was lacking!

    Now I am not saying that this hasn’t happened and I would be the first to agree that there are corrupt and unprincipled police officers. That is why there are “Internal Affairs Units”. I even had a case where I investigated and charged another police office (from another agency) for assault. At first I thought I was going to be ostracized by my colleagues, but I didn’t care. I was going to do what was right… what was my duty to uphold the law and surprisingly enough, my superiors and the majority of my colleagues were very supportive and told me I did the right thing. I got a little flack from a couple of them whom I already knew had a warped sense of morality, so it was no surprise coming from them. BTW… the officer I charged got convicted.

    To manufacture evidence AND get a conviction from this tainted evidence, is not as easy as you want to make it appear. There has to be a lot of “buy in” and/or “looking the other way” from a number of parties…. including the defense attorney and judge! However, yes it has happened! No doubt!

    “The problem with this theory is that if the criminal is such a criminal then finding the actual evidence necessary to put him or her away should be a piece of cake. If not, then maybe that person isn’t as guilty as a police officer, district attorney, or any member of the legal system would like for them to be.”

    As an experienced law enforcement practitioner, who has had to go to court and testify numerous times, the issue isn’t that finding the evidence should be a “piece of cake” or whether the person is as guilty as “we”, the legal system, “would like for them to be.” The first time I had to testify in court, as a bright eyed and naive rookie, I was astonished that the whole judicial process was geared towards what you can “PROVE beyond a reasonable doubt”, and with credibility, NOT what was the ULTIMATE TRUTH.

    I could do a whole series of posts about my experiences… what I have observed and heard in the so-called “Halls of Justice and Court of Law.” However, let me end with this: Is the judicial system corrupt? I would say “NO”… but it certainly isn’t perfect, nor fair at times, and it’s NOT based primarily on the principle of having “the public’s best interest at heart and search for the ultimate truth.” (I guess I should clarify that I am speaking primarily for Canada where I live). I find the whole judicial process more frustrating than satisfying. The key though is not to take it personally… whether the person gets convicted or not. I and most offciers I know… the vast majority… do our job with integrity… bring our best case to court and let the judicial system decide. More times than not, it get’s it right… regardless of what are the personal objectives of the various parties.

    Comment by asabagna | Friday, January 18, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback asabagna!

    I apologize for you are most correct. I have to take my statement back. I should have said that we know that some members of our police posses are more than capable and more than willing to manufacture evidence to get the conviction they want. In their mind, they know the guy is guilty so just plant the evidence necessary to put him away. This should not be an indictment of all. But it does happen.

    There have been high profile of police not being totally truthful in their job. I think the charges against Robert Davis in New Orleans shortly after Katrina is an obvious example. Here was a man pretty much minding his own business and trying to get information from police offiders. Next thing he knows he’s being severely attacked by the police for having the nerve of expressing his opinion that the police were being unprofessional. The man goes to jail and the police charge him with being drunk and disorderly. Mr. Davis said he hadn’t had a drink in decades.

    Even the judge handling the case said the video proved that Mr. Davis could have stopped being beaten if he would allow the police to just beat him. Maybe the tape I saw was manipulated and the judge must have seen a version that showed Mr. Davis assaulting the four police officers wrestling and beating him to the ground.

    Be that as it may this post isn’t an indictment on police or the law, but people in general. People allow evidence of their point to be manipulated in general. As a group, we don’t care about truth but what supports our prejudices in life. The vast majority of public opinion is so tainted to do whatever to support our position. Instead of looking at proof that we might be wrong we will modify and change circumstances to support our position.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, January 18, 2008 | Reply

  3. “Be that as it may this post isn’t an indictment on police or the law, but people in general. People allow evidence of their point to be manipulated in general. As a group, we don’t care about truth but what supports our prejudices in life. The vast majority of public opinion is so tainted to do whatever to support our position. Instead of looking at proof that we might be wrong we will modify and change circumstances to support our position.”

    You are certainly on point with this statement. BTW… I appreciate the apology.

    Comment by asabagna | Friday, January 18, 2008 | Reply

  4. I can attest to the fact that “people” are the culprits. I was on a jury for a crime that ALL the evidence pointed away from the defendant. No matter in the jury room we had one man who decided that he didn’t care what the evidence said. In fact he stated that ok he may not have done this crime but he probably committed a different crime before and he couldn’t see us letting him go. I told the guy that we aren’t in that jury room to worry about what he may or may not have done some other time. We had a “specific case” with specific evidence and that was ALL that we were there to discuss. It ended up being a hung jury on that one man who decided that this guy must have done something to someone somewhere or the police would not have arrested him now.

    I was disgusted and it pretty much blew my trust in the legal system right there. This was the first jury I was on and it showed me that innocent people can be put away or guilty ones let free based on the whims of some idiots who don’t know what the hell they are doing.

    Also, Asabagna I agree that not all police are corrupt and blanket statements are pretty crazy. Yet I agree with you when you say that this isn’t an indictment on police or law in general. Which can go for my story as well is not an indictment on all jurors or juries.

    Thanks for the post.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Friday, January 18, 2008 | Reply

  5. […] There was … armedamerica – Last Updated – Tuesday January 22  Request a Trackback Manipulation of Evidence It’s been a few years and the exact details of this case are long gone and irretrievable for all […]

    Pingback by Connecting News, Commentaries and Blogs at NineReports.com - | Saturday, January 26, 2008 | Reply


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